Dental macrowear reveals ecological diversity of Gorilla spp.

Journal article


Harty, T., Berthaume, M.A., Bortolini, E., Evans, A.R., Galbany, J., Guy, F., Kullmer, O., Lazzari, V., Romero, A. and Fiorenza, L. (2022). Dental macrowear reveals ecological diversity of Gorilla spp. Scientific Reports. 12 (1), p. 9203. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-12488-8
AuthorsHarty, T., Berthaume, M.A., Bortolini, E., Evans, A.R., Galbany, J., Guy, F., Kullmer, O., Lazzari, V., Romero, A. and Fiorenza, L.
AbstractSize and shape variation of molar crowns in primates plays an important role in understanding how species adapted to their environment. Gorillas are commonly considered to be folivorous primates because they possess sharp cusped molars which are adapted to process fibrous leafy foods. However, the proportion of fruit in their diet can vary significantly depending on their habitats. While tooth morphology can tell us what a tooth is capable of processing, tooth wear can help us to understand how teeth have been used during mastication. The objective of this study is to explore if differences in diet at the subspecies level can be detected by the analysis of molar macrowear. We analysed a large sample of second lower molars of Grauer's, mountain and western lowland gorilla by combining the Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis method with other dental measurements. We found that Grauer's and western lowland gorillas are characterised by a macrowear pattern indicating a larger intake of fruit in their diet, while mountain gorilla's macrowear is associated with the consumption of more folivorous foods. We also found that the consumption of herbaceous foods is generally associated with an increase in dentine and enamel wear, confirming the results of previous studies.
KeywordsMolar; Animals; Gorilla gorilla; Fruit; Mastication; Tooth Wear
Year2022
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation12 (1), p. 9203
PublisherSpringer Nature
ISSN2045-2322
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-12488-8
Funder/ClientPrimate Research Institute Cooperative Research Program
Agence Nationale de la Recherche
Australian Research Council
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación
Publication dates
Online02 Jun 2022
Print01 Jun 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted10 May 2022
Deposited28 Jul 2022
Publisher's version
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Open
LicenseCC BY
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